Monday, June 1, 2020

Parley shoots-down motion on BCL re-opening

BY KABELO SEITSHIRO

Parliament on Friday voted against a motion that called for the re-opening of Selebi Phikwe based copper/nickel BCL mine.

Tabled by Selebi Phikwe West Member of Parliament – Dithapelo Keorapetse, the motion stated “that Parliament requests government to facilitate as a matter of priority the re-opening of BCL Mine through cost sharing of environmental rehabilitation liability and extending incentives to investors interested in buying and running the mine”.

The motion, which has been on the floor for over three weeks was finally scrapped off the Parliament order paper after being shot down by MPs mostly from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. The voting outcome, as announced by the Speaker of the National Assembly ÔÇô Gladys Kokorwe showed that 27 members of the house voted against the motion while 16 were in support of Keorapetse.

The BCL mine together with other subsidiaries of the BCL group was put under liquidation more than two years back resulting in loss of thousands of jobs.

Its liquidation process has however been marred by what appears to be a fallout between Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources – Eric Molale and Nigel Dixon-Warren – the court appointed liquidator.

On Friday Molale told parliament that the government has set deadline of 30th June 2019 as the last for the BCL liquidator to vacate his post.

Molale by virtue of his ministerial position represents the government which happens not only to be the owner of BCL but also the biggest creditor.

Relations were strained last year when both parties clashed on the duration of the liquidation process, with the government piling pressure on Dixon-Warren to come up with a definite date on the winding up of BCL assets. However, the liquidator said it was a complicated process that could take up to seven years to conclude.

“There are lot things that he does on administrative issues that he disregard the law. I have gone and told the Master of High Court and Registrar and he has been informed about government’s position,” said Molale on Friday.

Molale previously disclosed to Parliament that he has taken the matter to the Registrar and Master of the High Court because the liquidator violated the law with impunity when he ignored instructions from the director of mines.

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